Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This Song Gets You Kicked Out of Rock and Roll, Alan Parsons Project

Where do we go from here now that all other children are growin' up
And how do we spend our lives if there's noone to lend us a hand

Seriously. Who cares? Empty Nest Syndrome is not appropriate for rock and roll. Sorry, APP, you're fired.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Is Over, Yo!

We made it. And, to answer your question: There were no tears Christmas morning. Riley wasn't looking for a kid's car with a roof and four seats. I did give her and Lucy their own tape measures and mentioned, "Hey! We can use these to construct the roof on your car!" And she thought that was a capital idea.


I'm looking forward to the new year and all it has to offer. I'm not making any resolutions, but I do have plans:

  1. I hope to knock the dust off my novel and get it going again. I actually had a dream that contained a great line I must include.

  2. I'm going to blog more and comment more. I'm struggling because I feel like I don't have anything orignial to add here. I just need to dig deeper...

  3. Oh, the old standard: Exercise/eat right. Maybe this year I can find my inner Richard Simmons and throttle him to death with my inner Billy Blanks
  4. Start preparing for Christmas in January. God, I hate being under the gun and not prepared. I felt like this year, I wasn't as thoughtful about others as I have been in the past. That's going to're all getting something handmade.
  5. I'm going to make our house sparkle from inside out. And I'm going to eat that elephant one hamberger at a time. I will perfect each square foot individually and start over next year. Circle of housework, we'll call it, Simba.

I'll stop there. Anyone in HR knows that 3-5 goals per year is the max. I think I can take it. Maybe I'll use them as themes and report on my progress throughout the year. Anyway, happy New Year to you. I hope you get kissed at midnight!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thanks for the Advice

Well, I've nipped it in the bud. I don't think I'll have to deal with disappointment on Christmas morning. I had checked in with my Dad, the Christmas Master, to see if there were any way to minimize the disappointment for Riley. There was no way I was going to buy her another kid's car.

"Well, can you think back to a time when you were disappointed on Christmas morning?" he asked me.

"No, actually." I replied. But I didn't have quite the wild imagination that my eldest daughter has. Do you know she has a colony of imaginary friends? That's what she calls it, "The Colony." She also has imaginary family now too. Complete with an older brother in middle school named Nick, a younger sister in pre-school called Emily and a Mom who looks like Tinkerbell. We've all been recast, my friends. But I've taken it in stride. I've even pushed back with, "What's wrong with your real Mommy?" and received lots of hugs and declarations that I was the best Mommy ever a thousand percent, which, of course I already knew. So, I don't complain much about my imaginary counterpart.

But it was seeming like I may need to reign her in before Christmas morning hit. So I did. Observe the conversation I had with Riley last night:

"So, what do you want for Christmas, Riley?" I asked.

"A Barbie car with four seats and a roof," she recited.

"You know," I said, glancing sidelong at my Dad for moral support, "I don't think they even make that kind of car."

"I know," she said.

"Actually," I said, thinking, "It sounds like something we could do to your Barbie Jeep ourselves...we could add a roof..."

"Yeah!" she said, enthusiastically.

"I don't think we could get four people in it, though; that battery isn't quite strong enough."

"Well, a roof would be good," she said.

"Yeah, it would be a fun project...we probably don't have to even ask Santa for help on this one."

"Nope!" she said and took off.

"What do you want for Christmas, Lucy?" I asked, feeling braver.

"Star Wars Clone Wars shirt and cape and pants and light saber," she recited.

"Sounds good," I said, relieved that most of that was already in the bag.

Thanks for your advice yesterday about this issue. I hope you all have a Christmas free of disappointments and full of unexpected joy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Do You Have Any Christmas Related Advice For Me?

My daughter, Riley, is on the brink of figuring out the Santa Claus thing. She's asked for an item that I don't think exists and if it did, I don't think I could afford it. It might be a test to see if Santa is for real or not.

She wants a kid's car that has four seats and a roof. Last year, we got her and Lucy a Barbie Jeep and it was exactly what she wanted. Now she's upped the ante and I'm not sure how to handle it.

I definately don't want to buy her another car. At least not until she's 16. But what do I tell her Christmas morning when she doesn't get her car?

Please help.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Classic Rock Wisdom: Michael Kroeger of Nickelback

To feel devine, to hold onto ones self, to give and to give and to never receive by myself.

---From Deep, 1998

Classic Rock Wisdom: David Paich of Toto

Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti, I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become.

---From Africa, 1982

Classic Rock Wisdom: Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

The rivers are full of crocodile nasties and He who made kittens put snakes in the grass.
--- From Bungle in the Jungle, 1974

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pithy Memos from the Management

Hey gang,

I woke up this morning and put my slippers on. As I scooted to the bathroom to begin my morning ablutions, I reached down to pet the cat. Well, boy, let me tell you what! The cat and I were flailing around like cartoon characters! I could literally see his skeleton glow in the dark.

So I thought now was a good time to warn you all about the dangers of static electricity at this time of year. The amount of static electricity that is generated in these cold, dry days really can cause quite a spark, and Mr. Whiskers and I learned that the hard way! It can make your hair stand on end, your skirt stick to your legs (or your pants stick to your legs) or you could even be walking around with a sock stuck to your back and not even know it! In fact, it is so powerful, that if you pilot light should go out and you’re not careful about scooting in your slippers, you and your cat could be history!

Please, please, please use caution when scooting. Or better yet: get a humidifier.

Susan Johnson
Manager of Customer Relations
Consolidated Informatics

Classic Rock Wisdom: Steve Miller

Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat. Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet. House the people livin' in the street Oh, oh, there's a solution.

--From Fly Like an Eagle, 1976

Classic Rock Wisdom: Bob Seger

Try the handle of the road, feeling different feeling strange. This can never be arranged, as the light fades from the screen from the famous final scene.

-From The Famous Final Scene, 1978

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Numb3r5! The Green Monkey Mix

I'm in the mix for the Green Monkey Music Project (thought it may not be official yet). There is only one rule for this mix, and it is very simple.All the selections must have a number of some sort in the title. There can be an actual number in the title, or the number can be spelled out (i.e. "Two"). I'll even allow adjectives like "Seventh".

  • Four Minutes to Save the World, by Justin Timberlake/Madonna
  • 500 Miles, the Proclaimers
  • 1999, Prince
  • 99 Red Balloons, Nena
  • Just the Two of Us, Bill Withers & Grover Washington Jr
  • Gimme Three Steps - Lynard Skynard

I'll post explanations soon...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Celebrities Who Have Appeared in My Dreams: Kate Jackson

Oh my God! I had the worst nightmare last night!

I dreamt I was waking up in the pre-dawn hours. I heard rustling in the kitchen and around the corner in the hallway, I could see my neighbor making his way to our room and hopping in to bed with me and Doc. He snuggled up to me and I was feeling a bit put upon. Doc continued sleeping. My neighbor couldn’t quit fidgeting so I threw him out. I walked him down the hallway and into the kitchen.

I was stunned to see that my kitchen had been destroyed. The cupboards had been ripped off the walls, the stove was missing, the phone was missing. I started to panic. I wondered if we had left the doors unlocked. My neighbor let himself out the back door with a cheery, “Peace Out!” I looked around again and found my stove across the room from where it should have been. The phone was also in a different location: across the room and up so high on the wall, I couldn’t reach it.

I was scared. Whoever did this was both destructive and mischievous. Nothing was stolen but the room had been vandalized. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone to call 911. I wondered as I flipped my phone open whether or not this was a 911 emergency. But I decided I didn’t care; I was freaked. I started to dial the numbers and the display showed 622 instead of 911, which I had pressed. I kept trying to dial and the screen would either show the wrong numbers or it would melt into Yellow Submarine colors and little icons on the screen would start laughing at me.

Eventually I connected with someone and told them our address. I went outside to wait for the police to show up. As I wondered how the houses across the street were removed and replaced with forest, I saw a 1970’s era gold Plymouth Duster approach and pull in the driveway. Kate Jackson got out of the driver’s side door wearing a smart white pantsuit and a white leather shoulder bag. She identified herself as a detective and I started telling her what happened.
“I wonder,” she said, “if this has anything to do with the baby I saw wandering around your front yard the other day…”

“The what?!?” I said, alarmed. There was a baby in my yard?!? Wandering?!?

“The baby. I’ll make a note of it. By the way, do you want to see my new pet?” she asked.

“Um, well…” I stammered, wondering why she didn’t want to come in the house and take a look at the damage and maybe find some clues.

“Oh, I found him the other day,” she said and whistled, “Here boy!”

Out of the car jumped her pet: a jack-o-lantern. It bounced its way frenetically over to us and eventually bounded up over my head, opened its jaws and attached itself to my head. I knocked it off of my head and ran back to the house, deciding the police weren’t going to be much help and I’d better just get me and my family the hell out of there and then figure out what to do.

I went back into the kitchen and Doc was there I started to tell him what happened and he seemed unmoved. I thought maybe I was over-reacting until I saw a door in the kitchen wall that I didn’t know we had. I pushed it open and looked down to see a large atrium with another house inside of it that kind of looked like the Brady house. I slammed the door shut and decided I wasn’t over-reacting; Doc was under-reacting. I went back into the bedrooms to get the kids.

They were in my room sitting on a roofline outside of the bedroom window. They were in their jammies and they were drawing clouds…literally. They would move their little arms around and cloud images of rabbits and rainbows were forming in the sky. Then the clouds became real. This was freaky to me but still kind of innocent until one of them drew a tiger, which came to life and slinked through the window into our bedroom. I grabbed it by the collar and led it to Doc.
“Handle this, won’t you?” I said as I went back to get the kids.

I got everyone outside and I went back in to the kitchen to get my purse. Things were flying around the kitchen and it was very cold. I suddenly realized that the weird things that were happening in my house were because of ghosts! So I shouted, “Get out of my house! Get out of my house!” But of course, it came out like “Gerrrroouottmmmmhosssssss!” because my mouth and throat were semi-paralyzed. I began to panic, but I thought, no…this is my house, dammit and I’m going to get it back. So I continued screaming “Gerrrroouottmmmmhosssssss!” over and over until everything stilled and cartoon ghosts in cartoon sheets zoomed up above me and formed a row. Some of them were wearing pink glasses or blue scarves or pink vests and some were carrying handbags. As they looked down at me I finished my last chorus of “Gerrrroouottmmmmhosssssss…” paused and said, “Please?”

They swooped out through the roof of my kitchen and all was calm.

I woke up for real this time. It was 3:00 in the morning. I had the heebie-jeebies up my spine and I couldn’t move from fear. I lay there for a while, trying to get my bearings. I thought about blogging about this just to clear my head, but that would mean walking through the kitchen to get to the computer, which: NO WAY.

It was very still and I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that maybe I was still dreaming. I had an impulse to wake Doc and tell him all about it, but decided to turn on the TV. Maybe Nick-at-Night could ease my mind. Designing Women was on and I thought, that sounds innocuous enough. I settled in but was quickly alarmed when I realized the episode was about Charlene buying a haunted house. Where was Bob Newhart when you needed him?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm A Dork: Tracking Packages

I placed an order on Amazon that pretty much finished up my Christmas shopping list. I love shopping online for Christmas. The best part? The tracking feature. I love seeing the progress of my packages. First, I order my stuff. Then Amazon bills me and I fork it over. Then Amazon sends UPS a heads-up that my stuff is coming. Then they send my stuff to UPS. Then UPS scans my stuff and sends it up to me from Kentucky.

God, it's cool!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Had To Beg For It: Splotchy's Viral Story

I had so much fun with the last viral story (see Pickles the Duck on my sidebar for Evil Genius' mad threadgathering skills) that I was totally psyched when I saw there was a new one over at iSplotchy. However, I wasn't included on the original list of tagees. After whining in the comments, Splotchy relented and added me to the list. Here are the rules of the game:

Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.

Here is the virus:

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. [Splotchy]

It meowed. I looked up to see if anyone noticed. In front of me, a head of gray curls turn slowly and rheumy eyes floated a death gaze in my direction.

"Sorry," I said, shrinking down into my seat.

"Hmph," she grunted and turned back around.

To hide my shame, I took a moment to dig in my messenger bag to find my sunglasses and, while I was at it, hand lotion. I found my shades, but the lotion was a problem. My hands were still half-numb and cracked from my sojurn to the busstop and my 45 minute wait and so I kept fumbling. Eventually I found the lotion and put my sunglasses on. With my prying eyes covered, I was free to begin to stare at people. I squirted lotion on my hands while I looked around. Everyone was wearing backless, blanket-robes. The sleeves were bell-shaped and the fleece robes went all the way to the floor. These people look like they escaped from Logan's Run. I closed the cap of the bottle and returned it to my bag. I began to rub the lotion into my hands.

As my hands warmed and began to feel some relief, I began to feel claustrophobic.

I tag:

Evil Genius
The Cap'n
Skyler's Dad

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I had the strangest dream...

I was in Boston and staying in a cheap hotel with my parents. The room was paneled and the bed had brown bedspreads. There was orange indoor/outdoor carpet. We weren't there long until I couldn't find my luggage. I searched and searched until I found my duffle bag wadded up and filled with empty Walmart bags. When I started pulling the bags out, I noticed that there was rat poop in the bottom. Well, it's what I identified in my dream as rat poop, but it looked like this:

I was sufficiently skeeved out so I went out on the balcony to watch the boats in the harbor. There were many novelty boats like a river boat complete with paddles, a ski boat and a ferris wheel boat. they were all sort of miniturized and driven by people using a bicycle wheel rig. They were flying around in the small area of sky blue waters outside my window. The waters were cordoned off by boardwalks with no railing, which I found to be quite unsafe. But then again the water only looked knee-deep anyway.

I went back into the room, which was like three hotel rooms together. There were pigeons roosting on the drapery rods and the rat made an appearance. It was a big rat. It looked like a wet, white cat.

I bravely got up and let the rat out the patio door and went to talk to my Mom, who was lying on the bed. I told her I was sorry about the rat, but I'd never experienced rats in Boston before; I had always stayed "On the hill" and not by the harbor.

We went out on the patio and looked at the surreal water. I had a moment of peace where I could just enjoy the silence, even though I was still worried about what happened to my clothes and what I was supposed to do for work and why no celebrities had appeared.
What could it mean?

Monday, December 01, 2008


After the blessing and before the feast, my Mom wanted us to go around and say what we were thankful for. Of course, everyone mentioned they were thankful for being there for a meal with family. Then some folks mentioned they were thankful to know those who had passed. It was getting pretty sentimental. When it got around to Lucy, I asked her, "What are you thankful for, Lulu?"

She smiled and looked away, a sure sign that she would dodge the question. I was about to prompt her to say something when she yelled, "Hot dogs!" and took off running.

It was a great moment when we all could chuckle and blame the misty eyes on a good laugh instead of the pain of missing the dearly departed and the other emotions that aren't so deeply buried that reveal that we would all be seriously up a creek without each other.